The Australian arm of ‘big four’ consulting giant PwC has today announced a new ‘trade community system’ powered by blockchain technology.
The culmination of years of a joint-effort between PwC Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Port of Brisbane, the ‘Trade Community System’ has been launched as a proof-of-concept app today to improve international trade efficiency by linking supply chain information over a blockchain.
The blockchain platform will look to improve productivity while reducing costs and the complexity of international trade by reducing duplication and human errors through digitization wherein all recorded information is shared on a continually reconciled decentralized ledger rather than being in binders at individual companies involved in the supply chain.
Pointedly, the platform was designed to address a number of recommendations and concerns from Australia’s national freight and supply chain priorities inquiry report released earlier this month.
PwC partner Ben Lannan stated:
"The Trade Community System proof of concept is the first stage in building an innovative end-to-end supply chain that will digitise the flow of trading information, improve connectivity for supply chain participants, reduce friction for business and reduce supply chain costs, providing unprecedented productivity gains for Australia’s international businesses."
Australia sees some 9 million container movements across its five major ports each year. That number is expected to rise up to 15 million container movements by 2025.
As Queensland’s largest multi-cargo port, the Port of Brisbane is spread in 1860.5 hectares and recorded over than 1.22 million container movements in 2016/17.
An estimated 15 percent of all information in individual import transactions are duplicated nearly 30 times over according to experts, representing a significant loss in operational efficiency and accurate record keeping. Current inefficiencies due to manual processes in an industry notoriously resistant to change see excessive costs of up to $450 per container.
“This doesn’t just represent in excess of $1bn in value lost but goes to the heart of Australian commodity trade viability when it gets priced out of the competitive global market,” added ACCI director of trade and international affairs Bryan Clark while calling for a sweeping digital reform and modernization agenda for Australia’s trade industry.
In remarks published by the Australian Financial Review, the ACCI official added:
"What we’ve come up with is the potential for significant cost savings if we can deploy technology like blockchain into the trading environment."
Today’s proof-of-concept blockchain app launch follows the recent noteworthy revelation of Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull mandating the government’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) to study blockchain technology for potential applications across government.
The DTA is already dipping into a $700,000 cash injection from Australia’s federal budget to research and recommend potential applications, starting with a prototype to deliver social welfare payments over a blockchain to citizens in 2019.
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